PALS volunteers pick up 123,440 pounds of litter this year in Jefferson County, Wenonah High School Wins Litter Quitter Campaign

Bham Now Trash
Over 61 tons of trash has been picked up in JeffCo so far this year. Photo courtesy of PALS.

There’s a lot of taxpayer money being spent on cleaning up after litterbugs in the Birmingham and Jefferson County areas so ALDOT (Alabama Department of Transportation) has launched the Trash Costs Cash campaign that is aimed at preventing people from dumping litter on neighborhood streets and major roadways.

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PALS volunteers pick up trash along highways and waterways.

Over 61 Tons of Trash Cleaned Up in Jefferson County

Jefferson County works with PALS, (People Against A Littered State) and during the first eight months of this year countywide volunteers have cleaned up litter along roadways and waterways in incorporated and unincorporated Jefferson County. These 53 volunteer cleanups have resulted in 61.72 tons of litter cleanup up from our rivers and roads. That’s 123,440 pounds, by 1,831 volunteers spending 7,324 volunteer hours.

Birmingham Alabama
Cahaba River – Photo from Cahaba Environmental Center

The waterways cleanups have taken place in Bankhead Lake, Cahaba River, Shades Creek and Village Creek/Bayview Lake. Jefferson County also  participated with other organizations and the City of Birmingham in the Valley Creek Watershed Video competition. Ten area high schools competed in the ‘Litter Quitters’ campaign by uploading Youtube videos about not littering for likes and the video with the most likes would win the competition. The winning Litter Quitter video was by Wenonah High School took first place followed by Oak Grove High in second and Fairfield High in third. Wenonah High School’s video was turned into a :15 TV commercial on local Birmingham channels.

Keeping Birmingham Beautiful

Trash can create health and safety hazards, we all should do our part to help alleviate litter. The City of Birmingham through Keep Birmingham Beautiful is helping to raise awareness about the hazards of littering through educational programs. The city also will give anyone the appropriate tools, gloves and trash bags free-of-charge to use to pick up trash in their neighborhood.

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Photo courtesy of Keep Birmingham Beautiful

“The City of Birmingham wants to ensure that beauty and charm is our lasting signature. Through efforts driven by Keep Birmingham Beautiful and Stormwater Management, we envision a city where all 99 neighborhoods are clean, green and beautiful places to live,” said Sade Hammond of Keep Birmingham Beautiful.

Bham Now ALDOT
Student volunteers for PALS. Photo courtesy of PALS

The organization also offers 20 easy ways to keep neighborhoods clean:

  • Lead by example, don’t litter
  • Set an example and pick up a piece of trash every day
  • Keep the front of your home clean and inviting (mow your lawn)
  • Teach children how to recycle and dispose of trash
  • Always recycle on the go
  • Organize a community initiative – such as a community garden
  • Engage local businesses to participate in litter prevention
  • Place a trash bag in your car to keep your trash in and from blowing out of the car
  • Clean up graffiti on the walls in the community
  • Keep storm drains clear of litter
  • Revitalize and clean up parks
  • Adopt a highway
  • Pick up after your pets
  • Carpool to work
  • Donate unwanted vehicles
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Reuse shopping bags
  • Properly dispose of cigarette butts
  • Post community updates on social media
  • Participate in the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup

Mayor Randall Woodfin and the City Council are dedicated to protecting the natural beauty of the areas throughout the City of Birmingham by educating the public through environmental literacy.  

Bham Now Aldot
Photo courtesy of Keep Birmingham Beautiful

Hammond added, “The citizens of Birmingham have the knowledge, intellectual skills, attitudes, experiences and motivation to make and act responsibly when making environmental decisions. Through the mission of Keep Birmingham Beautiful and StormWater Management, we will continue providing local educational initiatives and the tools to help our citizens make the correct environmental decisions that enhance the of life in our community.”


ALDOT spent $6.8 million last year cleaning up people’s messes across Alabama, and that’s money that could be spent elsewhere. Instead of paving and repairing roads, ALDOT has had to direct resources to cleaning up litter along highways and waterways.

Littering Is a Crime!

Littering is a crime! Alabama Code Title 13ACriminal Code 13A – 7-29 clearly states that littering is a Class C Misdemeanor and the first offense costs the litterbug $250, and it only goes downhill from there, if the litterbug is caught again, it is a $500 fine for each violation after the first $250!  We know your mama would be embarrassed if you were caught littering!

Kara Kennedy
Kara Kennedy
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